Persona 3 Portable

Review

posted 6/21/2010 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: PSP
Your personas are the manifestations of everything that you are, so you will need to improve yourself as a person in order to upgrade attacks.  You can rework and tinker with your personas whenever you want, so it's important that you work towards making it the best persona it can be.  You do this by taking in clubs, going to class and having an active social life.  It all plays into who you are as a demon hunter. 

Before long you'll realize that your days are starting to get cluttered.  Not only do you need to go to school, attend class and sleep, but you may also want to take in after-school activities like clubs, student council, part-time jobs, online video games and hanging out with friends.  And don't forget that in the middle of this you still have to scale the tower of Tartarus and beat up baddies.  How are you going to fit all of this into your schedule?


The answer is simple, you can't.  Persona 3 makes you pick and choose your activities and not over-schedule your life.  I don't care if you do want to get into a good university after high school; the fate of the world rests on your shoulders.  You can't go out hunting if you're too tired, and staying up late every night will make you fall asleep in class.  This is a game about balancing all of the elements of teenage life, which is not too far off from what most teenagers experience every day.

The reason this works so well is because I genuinely cared what happened to these teenagers.  It's rare for me to get so invested in a bunch of high schoolers, especially in a Japanese role-playing game.  But I really connected with the plight of our hero.  As soon as I saw how his everyday interaction influenced his demon hunting, I had no problem taking this game serious.  It doesn't hurt that all of the school parts are wonderfully written and full of humor.  Figuring out how I was going to spend my day is just as exciting as deciding on what attack to use in the heat of battle.


When you're done studying and hanging out with friends, it's time to get serious and take to the mysterious tower of Tararus.  We learn that each day the tower completely redesigns itself, so the layout of each floor is completely random.  That's probably for the best, because much of this game involves you running around these labyrinthine corridors battling monsters and looking for the stairway to the next floor.  There are no random battles; you will be able to see all of the monsters before you run into them.  And once in battle you are free to put the game on auto-pilot, if you're the kind of person who plans on doing a lot of grinding.

But remember, fighting in the Dark Hour is extremely tiring.  Your team can only go so far before they will need to head back to the dorm for some shut-eye.  It's this time limit that gives the game its urgency.  You know you can't get everything done in one night, so you will need to plan your schedule to get back there and finish the job.  But it's not that easy, because you're being pulled in all different directions.
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